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Computacenter profits up

Markets improving, but not a lot

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Computacenter, Europe's biggest computer reseller, made sales of almost £2.5bn for the year ended December 31 2003.

The company made profits before tax of £65.2m - an increase of 18.3 per cent on last year. Computacenter made sales of £2.48bn, up from £1.93bn in 2002.

Ron Sandler, chairman, said the company is seeing some recovery in markets but the weak dollar pushed equipment prices down. Over the course of the year the company saw prices for desktops, laptops and Wintel servers in its three core markets decline between 15 and 25 per cent in local currency.

Sandler said: "The improvement in our product volumes in 2003, although clearly stimulated by the large price declines, provides some evidence that our markets are beginning to recover from the downturn of recent years. The growing demand for XP roll-outs that we experienced as the year progressed is a further encouraging sign."

Very continental

The integration of German company CC CompuNet, which was acquired in January 2003, is going well - the company made a profit of £8.7m, despite falling sales of £635.2m. CC CompuNet has a strong services business - something Computacenter is focusing on increasing across the group. An extra benefit of the integration is the formation of a pan-European management structure. The German subsidiary won a four-year contract with Deutsche Bourse and a Linux migration project for the lower house of the German parliament.

Computacenter France had a poor year, making a loss of £2.7m on sales of £324.5m. But "an intensive turn-around programme is underway" according to Ron Sandler. Best practice management will help improve France's profit margin and improve cost efficiency, according to the chairman's statement.

Managed services revenue for the year increased 10.9 per cent.

The company will pay a dividend of 7p per share. ®

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